“Fanaticism”; “Obsession”; These are ugly words indeed. They are filled with connotations of imbalance and of misdirection. Yet the thought of “total involvement” cannot be excluded.
The sports fan, or fanatic, needs no one to exhort his attendance at “the Game.” Those obsessed require no directing of their thought processes towards their obsession. They are involved to the extent that their planning, their thoughts, and it seems at times, even their body chemistry are all keyed and adjusted to the great object of their lives.
Excluding the evil connotations completely, what would happen among the assemblies of the Lord’s people if each member was totally involved in the worship, prayers, service and good works of the local church?
Total Involvement is of course a relative phrase, and is closely allied to capacity. The greater the capacity in the things of God, the greater will be the area for involvement.
This would seem to be one reason why in many local assemblies we can detect two kinds of believers. There are the prayer meeting attenders, who are also the Sunday School workers, and the tract band and the building maintenance crew, and the visitation group etc., etc., and then there are “the others.”
So we have the over-loaded and the under-nourished, the burden-bearers and the back-seaters. We have the compulsive and the complainers, the willing and the wailing. Perhaps the segments cannot be quite so clearly defined as that because there are the irregulars, sometimes involved and sometimes invalid.
It would seem then, that involvement is associated with capacity rather than activity.
Capacity is increased by exercise and exercise is the hand-maiden of involvement. That sounds like the “vicious circle.” Yet it really depends upon just where we enter that circle.
Saul of Tarsus got on at the right place. He began with the willingness to be involved. He expressed that in the well-known words, “Lord what wilt Thou have me to do?” We might paraphrase it “Lord how wouldest Thou have me involved.” The answer was in effect, totally.
Thus he did not departmentalize his life into work life, home life, church life. Rather, the whole fibre of his experience was totally involved. So whether it was stitching a canvas or teaching a doctrine, it was always his to say, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Total Involvement may be too much to hope for in these days, but even greater involvement would surely make for happier and healthier assemblies. It would ease the workload on our elders, it would spread joy among more saints, perhaps even discover gifts that have lain dormant for years, and generally quicken the pulse in the cold extremities of the local church.
Total Involvement is of course the antitheses of half-heartedness. It is the “reasonable service” for every believer. The New Testament just does not envisage such a thing as a believer any less than involved and that totally.